Add Value, Don’t Discount!

Add Value, Don’t Discount!

Intro by Skip Cohen

Over the years I’ve seen so many photographers offer heavy discounts as well as free products they could sell in order to increase business. Obviously, there are a lot of components that go into increasing sales including brand awareness, your reputation, customer service and the quality of the products and services you offer. However, the minute you start discounting you undermine the quality of your product line – you turn prints into commodity items. They become just plain photographs.

Years ago one of the industry’s leading wedding photographers was trying to come up with a way to add value to his three packages without discounting. The easy solution? He added more time to his coverage of the event. Plus, longer coverage meant he was capturing more images and in turn, the client was eventually buying more.

Regardless of your specialty in imaging, check out Bev Walden’s suggestions below and also think about offers that include different products under the same “umbrella.” Instead of ala carte pricing, put together packages that offer more than just the sitting and the prints.

By Beverly Walden

Instead of thinking about discounts, why not think about adding value to your product?

Here are some ways to add value, giving your clients a reason to pay your full price because they are getting a great value! I never complain about a fine meal at an upscale restaurant UNLESS it is not a fine meal and the value has not been added by fantastic, over-the-top customer service, top quality food prepared in a top quality way and a fantastic experience.

Add value by:

  1. Product uniqueness and scarcity. Find the most unique products that match your brand and produce them at the highest quality possible. Then, make them scarce. For example, offer them only one or two times a month or only at the initial sales appointment. Stay relevant in the marketplace by implementing some of the new products available, but don’t compromise your values or brand. Instead, figure out how to make them work with your brand.
  2. Use beautiful packaging to add value. Packaging that matches your brand looks more professional and people don’t mind paying a bit extra for that. Ribbon and tissue are some of the least expensive items you can buy and they add immense beauty to packaging!
  3. Add something extra. Tuck a heartfelt note that is handwritten inside the finished order or have quote cards made to add to the finished order. I add a small bag of Hershey Kisses to the bag holding the finished orders so my clients have something to munch on driving home (chocolate makes everything better, right?) A car dealership here in town always put an apple on the seat of our car after we had it serviced there and then used an apple in their logo. I suppose we were the apple of their eye:)
  4. Surprise, surpass and delight! Think about ways you can do this with your clients. What can you do that another photographer down the street might not take the time or care to do? Delivering their orders and checking up on them after that makes a huge impact. Adding the Journaling Paperwork to our portraits is something they don’t expect from a photographer and they really love it!

Here are 3 more reasons confirms this advice.

ONE: You’ll cut corners. The reality is, if you discount your products, something has to get cut. It could cost you not only a client that is disappointed but your reputation too!

TWO: It is seen as a sign of distress that may embolden competitors. 

THREE: It devalues your product and creates a lack of confidence in you and your product.

So…what can you do to add value to your work instead of discounting it? Use the ideas above and then add some more!


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This article was written by
Beverly Walden

Beverly, along with her husband, Tim, took over Walden’s Photography in 1980, taking the studio in an entirely different direction when they developed their trademark “Relationship” Black and White Fine Art Portraiture. Today, they run a high-end studio, providing beautifully crafted portraits with impeccable customer service, along with Walden Coaching ( helping photographers build a stronger brand and business.

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